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Digest of Decisions

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DIGEST OF DECISIONS

GRAND LODGE OF MAINE, A. F. & A. M.

No decisions approved by the Grand Lodge of Maine which have been amended or revoked by later decisions or by subsequent amendment or revision of the Constitution and Standing Regulations are included within this Digest.

ACCUSATION.

See Charges.

ADVANCEMENT.

See Cons. 115, 120, 124(2), 126, 129, 130, 132.

Advancement denotes the reception of a degree, after the first has been conferred.

It is the right and duty of the Master to determine when a candidate shall be advanced, except when objection has been made.                                                                                                               [1915, p. 192]

When objection is made to the advancement of a candidate who has received a part of the degrees, the candidate has no right to appear to defend himself; nor to any information as to the reasons for the failure of the lodge to confer the balance of the degrees.                                                                                             [1915, p. 192]

While it is necessary for a candidate to appear for the E.A. degree within one year of the date of election, there is no limitation of time within which the second or third degree must be taken.         [1901, p. 198]

Candidates receiving degrees irregularly are entitled to no rights or

Privileges until healed.                                                                   [1928, p. 581]

 There is no definite time for advancement.                          [1914, p. 23]

If objections to the advancement of a candidate are made after initiation, such objections must be made known to the lodge and their sufficiency determined by vote of the lodge.                               [1915, p. 192]

AFFILIATION.

See Cons. 131, 133(4), 134, S. R. 37.

Affiliation means membership.

See Membership.

Unless the member signs the by-laws within six months, he must apply for membership anew. [1879, p. 11]

Application for membership requires unanimous ballot.      [1879, p. 11]

Objection to affiliation can be made prior to the next stated meeting after the election.             [1879, p. 11]

A member must sign the by-laws before he can be called a member of the lodge.        [1986, p. 205]

The candidate for membership, by affiliation, even though rejected, can apply as often as he wishes to same or any other lodge.                                                                                                                 [1900, p. 19]

Affiliation is a Masonic duty.                                                  [1878, p. 558]

Application for affiliation can be filed with any lodge.                [1870, p. 22]

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A candidate took degrees in two foreign countries. He now applies for membership here. If he is found to know the work, his petition for membership can be received and voted upon, then he can be re-obligated in all three degrees. He is then a member regu­larly made.                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                               [1892, p. 375]

A Brother who has taken the degrees in a foreign country and whose original Lodge does not exist can apply to a Lodge in the jurisdiction in which he resides, and if accepted be obligated to all three degrees, sign the by-laws of the Lodge and become a member.                                                                                       [1892, p. 375,1970, p. 277]

AFFIRMATION.

A candidate cannot be obligated by simply listening to the obligation and then saying, “ I affirm”.

ALCOHOL.

See "Intoxicating Liquors".

ALTAR.

Five-sided altar is not appropriate furniture in Masonic Hall.

                                                                                                         [1929, p. 39]

AMPLE FORM.

The Grand Lodge is opened in Ample Form when the Grand Master presides.

APPEAL.

See: CONS. 4 (6), 49, 53, 55.

Any member may appeal from any ruling of the Master or decision of the lodge.        [1861, pp. 160, 208; 1862, p. 252]

The work of a lodge cannot be delayed by an appeal from the ruling of the Master.   [1870, p.22]

Appeal to the Grand Lodge may be made by verbal notice to the lodge or Secretary but it should be in writing.   [1863, p. 303]

APPLICATION.

See: Cons. 93, 112, 113,114, 115, 116, 117,118,123,129,133, S. R 20. When more lodges than one are located in the same town or city, the lodge to which a candidate first makes application has exclusive jurisdiction over him.               [1866, p. 157]

 When an accepted candidate has forfeited his rights by not being initiated within the prescribed time, he may apply to the lodge in whose jurisdiction he resides as if he had never made application to any lodge.  

                                                                                                       [1872, p. 465]

 

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A signature by one's mark is not sufficient.      [1870, p. 22; 1876, p. 16]

An applicant who cannot read and is able simply to write his name is not eligible.       [1908, p. 22]

An application should not be received unless it is recommend­ed by at least one member of the lodge.   [1865, p. 85]

An application must be presented to the lodge before any action can be taken upon it.              [1864, p. 14]

If it appears upon the face of the application or in any other manner, before rejection or initiation, that the lodge has no jurisdiction over the candidate, either because he belongs to another lodge (and has not the required consent) or has not resided the required time in the state or in the jurisdiction of the lodge, or is mentally or physically disqualified, or has been rejected by another lodge (and has not the required recommendation), or is ineligible for any other cause, the fact should be noted on the record and his application returned without fur­ther proceedings.

[1861, p. 151; 1862, p. 232; 1866, p. 156, 157; 1872, p. 466; 1876, p. 16; 1928, p. 579]

The fact that a candidate otherwise eligible is an alien does not affect his eligibility.   [1894, p. 20]

 "Residence upon the sea" is not recognized in this jurisdiction.

                                                                                                                 [1900, p. 21]

When a lodge has received an application and voted to refer it, the secretary has no right to return it to the applicant, but shall hold it to carry out the vote of the lodge.                                                       [1878, p. 549]

A Lodge "may" vote to refer an application or have the Master simply refer it to the Committee of Inquiry after its initial reading before the Lodge.                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       [1986, p. 204]

An application must be referred to the Committee of Inquiry at the stated communication at which it was received in order to be acted upon at the next.                                                                                [1884, p. 625]

After an application has been referred and delivered to the Committee of Inquiry, it may be reported and balloted upon although mislaid and not present at the time.                                               [1871, p. 223]

A candidate receiving part of the degrees in one lodge can make application only by the consent of that lodge to another lodge for the remainder, even if he has removed into the jurisdiction of the second lodge after receiving one or two degrees in the first lodge.                                                                                                                 [1864, p. 16]

 

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But a person who has received part of the degrees in a lodge which has ceased to exist can apply for the remainder to the lodge in whose jurisdiction he resides, with a certificate of the facts from the Grand Secretary of the jurisdiction in which the extinct lodge was located.

                                                                                                       [1874, p. 269]

Brethren raised in a lodge under dispensation, the charter of which is afterward refused, are unaffiliated Masons in good standing and can apply to any lodge for membership. A certificate from the Grand Secretary will supply the want of a dimit.          [1898, p. 25]

Consent to waive jurisdiction and a recommendation to another lodge can be granted only by unanimous vote, taken by secret ballot at a stated meeting, upon an application presented at the preceding stated meeting.          

                                                                                                         [1876, p. 15]

Where one applies to a lodge under dispensation and is rejected, and the lodge does not receive a charter, the applicant who is rejected is under jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge; he can apply by permission of the Grand Master when the Grand Lodge is not in session, to receive the degrees in the lodge within whose jurisdiction he is, six months after the rejection, provided he is otherwise eligible.              [1898, p. 25]

A rejected candidate, residing in the jurisdiction of a lodge other than the one rejecting him, may apply during the five years next after the rejection to either lodge, but only with the unanimous consent of the other.

                                                                                                       [1892, p. 376]

A rejected applicant for the degrees cannot apply for a waiver of  jurisdiction from the rejecting lodge until six months have expired from the time of his rejection.                                                             [1898, p.27]

A resident of another jurisdiction who, with proper consent, applies for the degrees in a lodge in Maine and is rejected, may, after six months, again apply to the lodge here without consent from any other source.

                                                                                                       [1895, p. 176]

A rejected candidate may renew his application only upon a new petition, the old petition cannot be used under any circumstances. This is true whether the rejection is by ballot or by objection after ballot.

                                                                                                                 [1891, p. 25]

A rejected candidate, in making a new petition, must always state the fact of his previous rejection, and should give the date or the number of years since he has been rejected.                                [1892, p. 375]

A dimitted mason may petition for membership in any lodge in any jurisdiction regardless of his residence or its location.                                                                                                               [1915, p. 189]

 

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A petitioner for degrees or affiliation who alleges that he has received any Masonic degrees in a lodge in a jurisdiction not in fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of Maine shall not be recognized as a mason by a lodge in this jurisdiction. A petitioner under such circumstances must apply for all the degrees as con­ferred in this jurisdiction, and must also state the conditions sur­rounding the receipt of the so-called degrees, and that he had taken such degrees under a misapprehension as to the regularity of the lodge conferring the same.                                                                                                    [1927, pp. 373-374]

A petitioner who has joined a clandestine lodge must make all facts known, renounce allegiance to such lodge and sign a pledge on his honor as a man that he will hold no association with any of its members, as such, in the future. Lodges should be extremely careful in investigation of such cases to determine whether or not the applicant knew that he was joining a clandestine lodge at the time he applied for degrees therein, and if it appear that he did know the lodge was clandestine, it will be a question for the lodge receiving a petition under such circumstances to determine whether the applicant possesses that manly character which should underlie the eligibility and right of any man to become a Mason.                                                                          [1923, p. 390]

SEE BALLOT; CANDIDATE; JURISDICTION;

MEMBERSHIP; WORK

The application cannot be withdrawn after being referred to the Committee of Inquiry until after the ballot and then only if the ballot is clear and with the consent of the lodge.           [1860, p. 104, p. 1878, p. 549]

A false statement in the application is ground for charges.   [1864, p.15]

Application for membership must be made at a stated meeting, lie over

to the next meeting for the report from the Committee of Inquiry and may be approved by secret unanimous ballot.                [1875, p.528]

If the applicant becomes sick before the ballot is taken, the application and fee should be returned if the disability renders him unable honestly to acquire the means of subsistence.                             [1877, p. 281]

Application without the signature of the applicant is null and void.

                                                                                                                 [1894, p. 20]

Misstatement of age in the application—candidate is a minor—Worshipful Master is justified in rejecting; same as if rejection had been made.                                                                                          [1919, p. 221]

Application to be properly before the lodge must be accompa­nied with a fee.              [1920, p. 418]

Before an application can be acted upon by a lodge, it must be properly before the lodge. No application can be properly before a lodge unless it was received at a stated meeting except by dispensation from some authorized officer to receive it at a special communication.                                                                                   [1864, p. 14]

Where an applicant has, in his petition, stated that he has never applied to any other lodge for the degrees, and, after con­ferring the degrees, it is ascertained that he had made an applica­tion to and been rejected by another lodge, charges should be preferred against him, and if, on due trial, the charges are proved, he should be expelled notwithstanding the general rule that a Mason cannot be tried for offenses committed before he was a Mason.                                                 [1864, p. 15]

 

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An applicant for the degrees should be recommended by at least one member of the lodge to which he applies. If no member can recommend the candidate as worthy, his application ought not to be received.    [1865, p. 85]

An application should be read in its entirety at the time it is first presented to the lodge. When the application is then presented for balloting the reading of the formal language may be eliminated and the words "an application in the usual form" substituted, but each question and the answer thereto should be read at the time of balloting, together with any additional remarks contained within the application form.                                                                    [1956, pp. 785, 786]

A decision approved in 1865, page 85, states that "an application should not be accepted until it is recommended by at least one member of the lodge". If there is no by-law of the lodge requiring the application to be signed by two members of the lodge, then, in view of the above decision, only one of the men signing the recommendation need be a mem­ber of the lodge. However, if the by-laws of the lodge require that two members sign the application, then that regulation should be followed.     [1955, p. 519]

When a lodge finds, before ballot, that a candidate has been rejected in another lodge, the only thing to be done is for the Master to cause to be entered on the record "that it appearing that the lodge has no jurisdiction in the case, the application is ordered to be returned."                                                                                                                [1866, p.157]

A lodge received an application and referred it to the investi­gating committee. Within three months the applicant left the area and in another three months moved out of State. The application was not signed by the investigating committee. In two and one-half years the applicant returned to the original lodge jurisdiction. The lodge still had jurisdiction over the applicant and could act on his application. See Const. Sec. 123.

                                                                                                                 [1969, p. 33]

APPOINTMENTS.

A Master of a lodge cannot appoint his officers until he is installed. He may indicate before that whom he intends to appoint but the record of the appointment should be made after the record of his installation.

                                                                                                               [1862, p. 233]

APRON.

The apron should not be worn outside the lodge hail except at funerals or church services without a dispensation.              [1902, p. 21]

 

ASSESSMENT.

The assessment, over and above dues, may be made to defray the ordinary expenses of the lodge or to pay debts incurred to meet such expense, but no assessment can be made for purposes outside of lodge obligations, except for the Grand Lodge.        [1875, pp. 528, 529]

A lodge may levy an assessment upon its members to pay indebtedness already incurred for charitable purposes or to meet existing calls for charity, but not to create a fund for possible future use. [1921, pp. 19, 20]

 

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Persons becoming members after an assessment is made are not liable thereto.           [1873, p. 15]

When an assessment is made, it should be collected of all upon whom it is laid, or remitted by vote of the lodge.                [1873, p.16]

An assessment voted by a lodge can be collected.               [1878, p.550]

Assessment or a tax has been voted in Grand Lodge             [1878, p.48]

  Expenses of Washington’s Birthday celebration cannot be paid by an assessment on the members.       [1894, p.19]

AVOUCHMENT.

A mason cannot properly avouch for another unless he has sat in a lodge with him or has examined him as one of a committee appointed by the Master for that purpose, or upon the avouchment of a known mason in the presence of the one avouched for.                                                                                                                 [1864, p. 15]

The practice of undertaking to examine a person (claiming to be a Mason) except when specially appointed for that purpose by the Master, is a very dangerous and reprehensible one.                      [1864, p. 15]

AWARDS - MERIT.

There are many unsung workers in the vineyards of Masonry whose efforts help the Fraternity in many ways and these efforts should be recognized. We already have the Simon Greenleaf Medal and the Josiah Hayden Drummond Medal, which are award­ed to Brethren for unusual contributions to Masonry and for dis­tinguished service to the Craft, but there are also many others worthy of meritorious citations. A "Grand Master's Certificate of Merit", ten of which may be awarded each year at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge to those workers whom the Grand Master deems worthy of such recognition. [1979, p. 377, 378]

BALLOT.

See Cons. 93, 115,116, 121, 123, 124, 132. S. R. 32, 33.

The ballot must be secret                                                            [1822, p. 67]

The ballot should never be discussed.                                    [1861, p. 147]

The rejection of an applicant is final when declared and recorded. That only one black ball was cast and a second ballot was not taken cannot affect the issue.                                            [1915, p. 190; 1922, p. 207]

Our regulations require that but two ballots shall be taken on a candidate but this requirement means two ballots the result of, which is plain. If there is any room for doubt the ballot is defective the Master should order a new ballot.    [1929, p. 40]

Any question arising as to order in which ballot shall be taken on candidates shall be decided by Master.              [1930, p. 230]

Ballot, if favorable, can be reconsidered.   [1861, pp. 153,154 and 155]

Ballot, if unfavorable, cannot be reconsidered.

                                                                              [1861, p. 176; 1862, p. 249]

 

 

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Ballot cannot be in a special meeting without dispensation. Secrecy is vital.

                                                                                            [1863, pp. 303 and 305]

Ballot for all degrees at once is proper.                                          [1863. p. 304]

Ballot should not be passed without a report from the Committee of Inquiry. If the committee unreasonably delays its report, the proper course is to discharge the committee from fur­ther consideration of the petition and refer it to a new committee.             [1861, p. 149]

Nor in less than four weeks from the presentation of his peti­tion, for degrees or membership unless by dispensation.          [1928, p. 576]

Every member present must ballot on an application for degrees or membership unless excused by the lodge.     [1924, p. 590]

No Brother should be excused from balloting except by a unanimous ballot.                [1864, p. 15]

A Brother who waits until after the balloting has commenced cannot be excused from balloting.            [1865, p. 85]

There must be a ballot on the application of every candidate whether the report is favorable or unfavorable. The only mode by which a candidate is accepted or rejected is by a ballot                              [1865, p. 84]

If it is discovered, at any time before the ballot, that the lodge has no jurisdiction over the candidate, or if the candidate has died, the ballot must not be taken.

        [1861, p. 151;1866, p. 157; 1870, p. 22; 1872, p. 466; 1876, p. 16]

After a ballot has been taken and the candidate has been declared rejected, no other ballot can be taken to correct a sup­posed mistake; the only remedy in such a case is by a new appli­cation. A ballot cannot be reconsidered after the Worshipful Master declares the result

                              [1861, p. 176; 1870, p. 22; 1871, p. 349; 1874, p. 268]

After an application has been referred to the committee, it cannot be withdrawn until after it is accepted by a unanimous ballot, unless it appears that the lodge has no jurisdiction.        [1863, p. 303; 1864, p.115]

A lodge can waive jurisdiction only by a unanimous secret ballot, the request for waiver having been received at a previous stat­ed communication.                                                                                   [1876, p. 15]

A ballot taken when a quorum is not present is void, and it should be taken again at the next stated meeting.      [1870, p. 22]

If two or more black balls appear, the Master must declare the candidate rejected, though a brother believes he threw one by mistake.

                                                                                                               [1872, p. 466]

If a candidate is declared by the Master to have been accepted, and the record so states, the candidate is entitled to the degrees unless objection is made; in which case the Master must declare the candidate rejected.

                                                                                                                  [1904, p.22]

 

4-8


A member of a lodge who votes upon an application, which is accepted, may afterward object to the applicant and such objection is equivalent to a rejection by the lodge.                     [1915, p. 190;1921, p. 19]

A ballot must be taken although an objection has been made.

                                                                                                                 [1876, p. 16]

“The Master should declare the application rejected even though no     

black balls appear if objection has been made previously.”     [1887, p. 692]

A separate ballot shall be had upon each application.

                                                           [1904, p. 22 1907, p. 214; 1918, p. 24]

If the Worshipful Master is in doubt, the ballot can be taken again by order of the Worshipful Master. [1871, p.224]

A blackball is cast by a member who later goes to the Worshipful Master and confesses a wrong motive and asks for a new ballot to be taken. This cannot be done until six months have elapsed from the time the rejection is announced.              [1874, p. 268]

A ballot cannot be taken over after a mistake is discovered after the lodge is closed.  [1876, p. 16]

The Tyler is not required to ballot but he should have an opportunity to do so if he wishes.       [1889, p. 334 1884, p. 626]

The ballot, once declared by the Worshipful Master, is final even though the wrong ballot box was used and a new ballot is void. 

                                                                                                         [1894, p. 19]

Method of balloting.                                  [1897, p. 635, Correspondence]

The election of a candidate can be declared illegal if there are not enough ballots in the box.   [1899, p.204]

The ballot declared clear by the Worshipful Master must stand even if it develops there actually was a blackball cast. The recourse is objection.                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                         [1904, p. 22]

In taking the ballot, every honest and reasonable doubt should be resolved in favor of the institution.   [1891, p. 16]

Abuse of the ballot for personal reasons is unmasonic conduct.

                                                                                                               [1923, p. 389]

Worshipful Master excused a member from voting without a vote of the lodge. This does not make the ballot defective.  [1924, p. 590]

Worshipful Master can continue to collect the ballot until he is sure there is no mistake made. [1929, p.40]

Improper use of the ballot to satisfy personal feelings is unmasonic conduct.               [1939, p. 613]

It is improper for a lodge to vote on whether or not to spread a ballot on a petition on which the committee of inquiry has report­ed. A ballot must be spread unless a petitioner has since deceased or it is discovered that the lodge lacks jurisdiction. Nor can a petition be withdrawn until a ballot is taken.                                                    [1968, p. 680]

 

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BIBLE.

Use of Masonic funds for the translation and distribution of the Bible is set forth in a good article by Simon Greenleaf in.                                                                                                        [1820, pp. 49-51.]

The Grand Lodge voted not to use funds for it.                      [1821; p.55]

A Bible is necessary in Blue Lodges in Maine. The Bible was adopted in its entirety as the Great Light in Masonry.             [1858, p. 394; 1856, p. 125]

The Bible should not be owned in common with the O.E.S., which is a non-Masonic order.       [1922, p. 206]

BLUE LODGES.

The Grand Lodge and its subordinates know of no other lodges than those technically called Blue Lodges and which only confer the degrees of E.A. F.C. and M.M. Any sign, therefore, in which the candidate is instructed is only to be given in the lodge of Master Masons etc.; should not be given in what are called the Higher Bodies.    [1865, p.84]

BRACKETS.

Eliminated from Lectures                                                         [1957, p. 123]

See Cipher

BUILDINGS AND BUILDING ASSOCIATIONS.

 See S. R. 21.

See Grand Master's Address, 1953 Proceedings.

A lodge cannot donate its funds to a building association, but it can invest in the stock of such an association.   [1921, p. 19]

Masonic buildings require approval by Grand Lodge.

                                                                              [1951, p. 412; 1952, p. 635]

In a case where the lodge funds are advanced to a building corporation in exchange for its stock or membership certificate which corporation is, in fact, constructing, purchasing or altering the building, approval by the Grand Master is necessary. Otherwise, the whole purpose of the regulation, which is not only intended to approve the design and arrangement of the building but also to protect the lodge from an unsafe expenditure of its funds, would be lost, and any lodge wishing to proceed without having this approval could simply arrange to set up a corporation and accomplish exactly what this section intends to prevent           [1955, p. 517]

BURIAL - SEE FUNERAL

See Cons. 102, SUSPENSION, EXPULSION.

A non-affiliated Mason is not entitled to Masonic burial, but it may be voluntarily accorded by the lodge.

 

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Lodges may hold Masonic Memorial services for departed Brethren even though the body or the ashes are not present We do not memorialize the remains, but rather the life that was and still is. [1979, p. 379]

If, at the request of a deceased brother, a Royal Arch Chapter performs a burial service, the lodge can take no part. The use of the lodge service by a chapter is inappropriate and without right.  [1866, p. 156]

A lodge taking charge of the body of a deceased brother for burial must retain control of it until it is buried; and no service shall be allowed to followthe Masonic service, although the lodge should extend all proper courtesy to any other society that may be present.                                                                                                               [1905, p. 220]

At a Masonic burial the bearers shall wear no other regalia than the Masonic regalia  [1905, p.220]

It is not proper, at a burial, for a person in Masonic regalia to assist any other than a Masonic lodge.     [1905, p. 220]

A brother may wear his apron if he is to be cremated.

                                                                                                       [1984, p. 626]

See CANDIDATE.

BUSINESS.

See Cons. 92, 94.

BUTTON.

25 Year Service Button, S. R. 44

40 Year Service Button, S. R. 49.

50 Year Service Button, S. R. 26.

BY-LAWS.

See Cons. 91, 92, 108,133, 36.

The by-laws legally adopted by a lodge bind the lodge so long as they are in force. Should the lodge legally vote to change the by-laws the change does not become effective until approved by the Grand Master.

                                                                                                        [1905, p.220]

If the by-laws of a lodge provide that a meeting shall be held on a stated day of every month of the year, and make no provision allowing the lodge to stand closed during certain months, the lodge cannot legally vote to stand so closed.    1905, p. 220]

Certain items that the by-laws of a lodge should not provide for.

                                                                                                       [1861, p. 182]

By-laws of lodge require Grand Lodge approval.                  [1864, p. 14]

Changes in a lodge's by-laws respecting fees cannot affect an application, which was received by the lodge before the by-laws, were altered.                                                                                                    [1864, p. 15]

By-laws cannot be overlooked because of a custom.           [1879, p. 11]

A By-law of a lodge cannot be suspended by the Grand Master.

                                                                                                         [1918, p. 45]

A By-law is effective when approved by the Grand Master.

                                                                                                         [1921, p. 20]

 

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